When I was younger, I dreamed of making a magazine for young black girls. I came up reading Teen, YM, and Teen People magazines, and always felt frustrated that teens like me were never represented in these pages. The hair and makeup tips never applied to me, except when editors called themselves being “inclusive,” and broke the skin care types down to three categories: Fair, Olive, and Dark. I hated that. I wanted to create something that represented all of us. Honey magazine stepped in to fill that void for a few years, but once that glorious magazine left the newsstands, young brown women went back to square one.

If you’ve also dreamed of starting your own publication, you might want to consider making a zine.

Last summer, I attended a zine-making workshop at Baltimore’s DIY Fest, and came away with some really helpful tips on zine subject matter and supplies. I even bought my first zine from a girl who chose to document her experience moving to Baltimore City from New York’s Upper West Side. She cut and copied photos of herself, typed some pages and hand-wrote others. She included funky illustrations and compared Bmore’s crime and population statistics with New York’s. The content was totally biased, but that’s the whole point! Putting your perspective onto paper, and telling your story, your way.

Now of course, for the life of me, I can’t find that tip sheet, the girl’s zine, or the zine I started of my own. I’m pissed. But moving on…

This post was inspired by a re-blog of this 16-page publication discussing one man’s conflict and guilt around white privilege:


To me, zines are an “anything goes” form of publishing. The cut-and-paste style creates a sense of rebellion. The journal entries, artwork, poetry, and other writings give the zine creator the freedom of expression. Just imagine snatching a blog off the web and splattering it onto paper, with little regard for order and perfection. Zines have the potential to be a raw and unconventional way to get your point across. And they’re easy to make.

In the absence of my tipsheet from the DIY Fest workshop, I’ve added some other helpful resources to get you started in indie publishing. Check out Gurl.com’s Guide to Zine Making. In it, writer, Lauren, lists everything you’ll need to create and copy your booklet, adding that all you really need is,

“your writing, your artwork, paper, courage, a glue stick, access to a copy machine, scissors, a stapler and a heart.”

This video from the Just Seeds collective (an awesome site for original posters and prints), is also a great help. It’s a super simple, fun, illustrated guide for all you visual folks out there. Be sure to watch…

how to make a zine from nicki sabalu on Vimeo.

Here’s another example of a zine called Gotham Kafé. All it took was four sheets of paper and a little creativity…

You might also want to read up on the Riot Grrl Zines, and how feminist publishing grew out of the women’s punk scene.

Do you read zines or have you created one of your own? Let us know! We’d love to read your work.